Column 1: Allegations

Martinez News-Gazette Columnist

ALLEGATIONS of ‘inappropriate conduct’ which have swept the nation in recent months from the White House down through high levels of government and corporations, have hit here…Martinez, CA! (According to a report in the East Bay Times, there have been allegations against Contra Costa County Assesor Gus Kramer) How about that? And, apparently, not a surprise to a lot of folks who know about such things around the county. Who’s next?

The #MeToo ‘movement’ has spread sort of like the horrible wild fires in California. There very likely are many guys at all levels of our society who may each day wonder if their behavior in the past may have been inappropriate, and someone may be contemplating some action. Many of the stories which hit the media are related to activities from years back. Now, years later, careers are destroyed because of thoughtless behavior from the past suddenly brought to light by victims emboldened by others who are coming forward with allegations.

Details of some of the ‘inappropriate’ activities make one wonder what in the heck the alleged perpetrator was thinking. How dumb can some folks be? Some of the accused ‘perps’ may come from a background where such behavior is acceptable. Others who have been placed in the bright light of day by an accuser have come from backgrounds of society and education which makes their unacceptable behavior hard to fathom. Is it arrogance? Is it machismo? Could it be feelings of superiority in an office situation? How about opportunity which just can’t be ignored in some situations? Whatever the cause, they all boil down to being just dumb! And now they are paying a price for brief moments of indiscretion, or on-going thoughtless behavior.

What will the allegations do to 40 years of service for our county official? What should they do? A situation difficult to ignore.

DMV is taking some hard hits over the service it is providing (or not providing!). Horror stories of huge lines at their offices are heard every day. Like a friend who spent seven hours from start to finish one day a couple weeks ago. Or, the long wait being wasted because the proper documents were not held by the person needing help. Much of the lengthy process is now being blamed on the new federal-mandated Real ID which takes longer to process, officials have told us. However, there is hope for better service with the addition of several hundred new employees.

I preparation for getting my driver’s license renewed in a couple weeks, I dropped by the Concord DMV office last week to get the booklet with the rules in it. A DMV employee (like a greeter) met me in the lobby, asked how he could help, and handed the booklet to me. Total transaction about six or seven seconds, and I was out the door. Pretty slick!

TRAGEDY at its highest level continues all over California as the raging flames continue to devour hundreds of thousands of acres of landscape and structures. And, Jeanne expresses her additional concern about “all the little animals” swept up in the flames racing across the countryside. The extent of the disaster is so difficult to imagine as the TV news shows towering flames destroying forests and mountainsides seemingly unstoppable by the reported 14,000 firefighters on the lines.

The magnitude of the operations is incredible. The logistics of feeding the personnel, laying out attack plans, providing for some rest for the crews, keeping the water supplies coming from sources in the area like lakes and rivers, and maintaining the hundreds of vehicles with fuel and water, just to name some of the planning necessary.

Earlier this week, CalFire announced that they hope to have the Northern California fires encircled by SEPTEMBER 1. Can you imagine how much additional destruction there will be by that date? Awful.

MEANWHILE, the Know-It-All in the White House came forth with the statement that California is having a hard time fighting the many fires because we have a shortage of water! And the reason for the shortage? “California is diverting too much water to the Pacific Ocean.” So sayeth a self-proclaimed water expert from Washington, D.C. who grew up in New York City, or close by! Gurgle, gurgle!!

THOUSAND FRIENDS (give or take) of Martinez held a quarterly meeting August 8th to discuss several topics of concern for Martinez. Issues on the agenda included recap of the June election; the new voting districts; the upcoming mid-term election in November and climate change as it may affect Martinez and the county around us. Next meeting will be September 26 at the Veterans’ Hall at 7:00. Maybe give it a try and lend ideas? And, there were hors d’oeuvres last meeting at 6:30!!

LOOKS LIKE election activities are cranking up? We are seeing John Stevens signs along Alhambra Avenue. Where else? Who else?

CHEERS and prayers for the thousands of fire fighters on the lines in California and elsewhere. Terribly dangerous work as we know with the loss of several thus far. Seeing the towering flames roaring across the countryside tells the story of what these brave ones are facing.

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